Haven’t you heard? French conversation is all the rage these days, and people everywhere are asking how to learn!
From language learning apps for your Iphone or IPad to streaming French video, everyone has the chance to learn this most melodious language.
And you’re tempted… so tempted to jump on that bandwagon, if only to diversify your knowledge base and broaden your cultural horizons!
However, not everyone is keen on the idea of letting a machine do the teaching, even if those language programmes are human-driven.
Among other reasons, that is because some automated language learning sites’ content is written by native speakers of the language, not necessarily anyone with professional knowledge of the best way to learn a language.
While these applications have merit and can help you learn French, nobody would blame you for insisting that a human, someone qualified to teach French, who has a measure of experience, should help you roadmap your journey to fluency in French.
How can you find such a person, when the Internet is lousy with chatbots and automated programmes?
Let Superprof help you winnow your search results, to select the optimal French teacher for your needs.
Do you want your child to take a language course online? Source: Pixabay Credit: E. Chapman
First, we wonder whether you endeavour to learn French alone, with a spouse, mate, family member or child and, if so, what age child?
Or did you want lessons only for your school aged child(ren)?
Second, it would be important to know if you are learning French for business reasons – because you are moving to France to work, or if you are just so enraptured by the language and culture that being a francophone is the only path to happiness for you.
Some people like to learn French because they have discovered they have family in Belgium, Switzerland or some other French-speaking country.
Others appreciate the many benefits of being bilingual and wish to take advantage of them, with no other particular purpose in mind.
All of these criteria play a part on formulating your best approach to learning French, and any qualified teacher would most likely ask you the same questions before hammering out any lesson plan for you to follow.
Finally, and most importantly: would you be amenable to taking French language lessons via webcam?
Once you’ve ascertained your needs and goals in learning French, you can proceed with your search for a French teacher.
Let’s start looking!
Italki is a language teacher marketplace with more than 5000 teachers, ready to instruct on more than 100 languages.
Of course, you only need to look at French teacher profiles.
Once you’ve registered with the language learning site – doing so is free, you can browse through the library of introductory videos of French teachers until you find the one that sparks with you.
You can also read reviews from other students that teacher has worked with, on the same page.
And then, it is just a matter of coordinating schedules: yours and theirs.
Evenings, weekends, or even mornings if you are available! You simply block in that date and time on the teacher’s appointment page and, voilà!, you are on your way to your very first French lesson with a qualified teacher!
Every teacher who is registered with Italki has been certified, and had their credentials examined.
Because Italki’s teaching philosophy is student-centric, your teacher will tailor personalised lessons, according to your needs.
You can now stop browsing used bookstores for French textbooks, and throw away those verb conjugation charts!
There is no set curriculum to follow. You simply describe your situation to your prospective French instructor, and together you would formulate your lesson plans.
How much does such a service cost?
Let us reassure you: there is no upfront tuition to be paid – and the risk that that money would be lost because you were stuck in traffic at the time of your scheduled lesson.
You pay for the lessons you take: nothing more, nothing less.
One feature we find particularly advantageous on the Italki platform is the learning community you may take part in.
From finding chat partners to reading blog articles; from discussing language learning woes to finding answers to questions you’ve long held about French grammar, you can find it all with Italki.
The greatest benefit to online lessons is that you can learn anywhere! Source: Pixabay Credit: Coyot
This learning experience differs from the previously discussed one in that it offers one on one lessons or group classes, similar in principle to a MOOC – massive open online course.
Learning French through that method involves several people online at the same time, learning from the same teacher and interacting, at least on a limited basis, during instruction time.
As with all other language learning utilities, you would first declare your level of French speaking – beginner, intermediate or advanced, and be grouped with students who are at approximately the same level as you.
These group sessions are generally one hour long, with one teacher instructing no more than five students at a time.
By contrast, the one to one sessions involve you and your tutor, interacting via Skype.
Should you be preparing for your A Levels in French, you may want such individualised focus to learn language and verb tenses.
What we really like about this method of immersion into French is that your progress is officially tracked and marked according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Language, or CEFRL, which provides definite guidelines for accomplishment in mastery of languages.
You should be aware that Lingoda is a tuition based programme: you would pay a per month subscription up front, whether you are available for studying that day or not.
All of your learning materials will be provided, and available for download outside of your meeting time, so that you might carry around your vocabulary list or flip through flashcards during your noon break at work.
Lingoda does not sponsor a learning community or a language exchange program, but if you opt for the group lessons, you may invite your classmates to contact you outside of lessons for practice with pronunciation, or simply to practice speaking French.
Although individualised focus is given to every aspect of your French learning experience, the two opportunities listed above are still generalised, at least to an extent.
You may want more personalised French classes, such as those offered by Learn 4 Good.
This approach to teaching the French language involves you creating a profile and stating your goals.
You would submit this personal summary to the bank of teachers, who would then contact you to offer their services.
Here again, all of the teachers are certified, each one a native speaker, and they all have experience in teaching French for beginners and at intermediate level.
Whether your personal focus is on French pronunciation or listening comprehension, you will find any number of French teachers available to you.
In spite of the obvious success of this programme and its noble aim, perhaps you would not like to have teachers bidding for your favour, or not having any input on what the best way to learn French might be.
For instance, your newly hired teacher may insist on grammar lessons, perhaps at the expense of learning French vocabulary.
Or worse: s/he might instruct you to learn vocabulary on your own, reserving lesson times for exam preparation!
Every learner has different ideas on the best language skills to acquire, based on his/her personal situation.
Still, wouldn’t it be worth it to defer to a qualified teacher to plan your French courses?
If you do not have an Alliance close to your home, why not check to see if their online Basic French curriculum, or indeed if any of their language courses would suit?
One guarantee we can make: learning French words and phrases with these professionals is sure to deepen your proficiency in your second language.
You may elect to learn French expressions with a private tutor online Source: Pixabay Credit: Mohammad_Hassan
Besides all of the ways to take a French course online, you could engage a personal tutor to learn all of those French phrases you so want to understand.
Gumtree, Free ads, and adverts in your local paper no doubt promote certified teachers who are looking for students of beginner French all the way to advanced French learners to work with.
The downside to those is that you have no feedback to the quality of instruction or reliability of the instructor.
Superprof tutors, on the other hand, must prove their credentials before becoming certified to operate from this platform, and you would see feedback from any former students avec aise – prominently displayed.
From teachers’ profiles you may find whether French is his/her native language, or if s/he, like you, has spent years on the path of foreign language learning and, most importantly, whether s/he will help you learn French online.
Perhaps the best aspect of a Superprof tutor is that you may end up learning how to speak French with a Parisian, actually living in Paris!
Most Superprof tutors give their first hour of lessons for free, so that you can see if s/he is truly the introduction to French culture that you have been looking for.
Learning new language is a challenging proposition, but with the right online French teacher, becoming fluent need no longer be just a dream!
Click here to learn about the best online translators.